It probably surprises no one to know, if you’ve read my post on spoilers, that one of the reasons I like to reread books is because of that comforting sense you know what’s coming. I just got finished rereading A Natural History of Dragons, and of course I knew what happened — which took the edge off any impatience or tension, and actually means I’m going to be rating the book at least one star higher. It’s just the way I’m wired, I guess; I like to know, and then watch things unfold with that knowledge and put together, instead of the what, the how and sometimes the why.
(On the other hand, I just reread Winter Rose, and knowing how that ends didn’t help a bit with connecting the dots because there’s something about that book I just don’t get.)
As I said in the post on spoilers, it’s also a way of appreciating the skill of the author: even if you know what’s coming, can they keep you absorbed? Can they keep you following the thread of story round each step of the labyrinth, instead of taking a shortcut? Can they lay a trail of clues for the reader?
Of course, if you have a really great memory, then only the very best of books will stand up to that, or it has to be something else that draws you — the characters? the writing? the nostalgia?
There’s a whole lot of reasons why I reread, but nostalgia and comfort are a big part. I can get the same thing with books that follow a formula — like Georgette Heyer’s Regency novels or Mary Stewart’s suspenseful romances — because I sort of know what’s coming, and I can just settle into it, watching where it takes me.
What about you? Do you reread? Why/why not?